Filipinos on News Events Part 1: Do Criminals Deserve Inhuman Torture or Death? (as posted in Definitely Filipino Blog)12:06 AM
I have been contemplating for days on what to write about that is Filipino-related when I saw news events the past days that made me think about Filipinos on people and being in the Philippines in general.
Last week, TV Patrol let out an exclusive story where somebody took a cellphone video of a criminal being tortured by policemen somewhere in Tondo, Manila. A rope was tied on his private part and is being pulled by somebody every time he gets whipped. In other words, he was being tortured by policemen. This also reminded me of another video I saw in Facebook where policemen were making fun of male criminals by making them kiss each other and beating them up, despite being beaten already by maybe an angry crowd.
As a research assistant in a project for a Nonkilling Philippines, this affected me more than other ordinary citizens. For the past months, I have been collecting articles on violence and killings, and have encountered criminals being killed in shootouts or have been killed by unidentified men. But so far, this has been the worst incident of violence I have ever encountered in my research. I never thought people (policemen for that matter) would do such a thing to a criminal and it made me finally ask what we Filipinos think when criminals die or are tortured in a manner that is inhumane and not appropriate even for a criminal.
Yes, they are criminals. They rob us of almost anything that are valuable to us: personal belongings, dignity, pride, purity and worst of all, loved ones. When they escape, we swear upon anything that “sana makarma sila” or “sana mamatayan sila ng mahal sa buhay para malaman nila kung paano mawalan ng mahal sa buhay” or “sana mamatay sila dahil wala silang karapatan mabuhay”. Admit it, at least once in our lives, we have done this---I know I did. But, do we even think that these criminals are also human beings that should be treated like humans and not be given an inhumane treatment? I think this is one of the questions being debated since that story on the tortured criminal came out.
Maybe yes, I do not even think of them as humans as what they do is not very human even for ordinary citizens. These rapists, robbers, murderers and thieves have stolen a lot from innocent Filipinos that somehow, what they get is what they deserve and that, for once, something should be stolen from them. But then, there is the peaceful and non-violent part of me that says the tortured criminal in Manila or the criminals being told to something disgusting did not deserve to be treated that way because it was way too much for even the most dangerous criminal in the Philippines. Heck, I see these kinds of tortures on animal, and I cringe…what more on humans who are more alive and have feelings than animals. I mean even animals that get butchered get a decent death than the torture that I saw.
Now what does this conclude? For me, I think it is hard for any Filipino to decide whether these criminals deserve inhuman tortures or death, especially if they have directly encountered a criminal. I guess this will be a debate that might get unresolved for months to come, and since the issue has not died down yet. Even I have not yet decided on what to really answer to this question.
I want to know, though, what you think. Do criminals deserve to be tortured in an inhumane way? Or for the fact that they die on shootouts or be shot by anybody: do they deserve that? Let me know your views.